About Jenni Cadman
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"What drives me is the repetitive, physical nature of machine embroidery.
It’s an intense activity, the machine lends itself to the task of mark making mechanically, and I respond intuitively.
We work in unison with a shared sense of rhythm and urgency."
I am a textile artist who explores colour, form and movement through her stitched textiles. I trained in Printed Textiles Design at Reigate School of Art and Design, in Surrey, in the late 70’s. But it wasn’t until 1992, after seeing Out of the Frame a major exhibition of embroidery mounted by the Crafts Council, that I took up stitching in earnest. I saw the potential for innovation and wanted to be part of this evolving new art form.
A turning point early in my career came when I received Craft Awards from the Arts Council South West in 2000 and 2001 and it was during this period that my work began to significantly evolve. I started to sketch the landscape and found not only a new way of expressing myself but the key to developing my own style of embroidery.
My current practice pursues a continuing interest in recreating the painted and drawn mark. I develop designs on a small scale using combinations of drawing, painting, collage and monoprinting. These are then scaled up and translated into stitched fabrics. Using my well-honed skills in free-machine embroidery, a technique whereby the needle is ‘free’ to draw like pen on paper, I apply threads in broad flourishes and strokes to emulate brushed colours and flowing drawn lines.
What drives me is the repetitive, physical nature of machine embroidery. It’s an intense activity, the machine lends itself to the task of mark making mechanically, and I respond intuitively. We work in unison with a shared sense of rhythm and urgency.
I use an unusual way of stitching - I stitch ‘blind’ on the back of the work and cannot see exactly the effects I am achieving. So, although I am embroidering the uppermost surface it is the ‘underside’ that is the finished side of the work. There is an element of chance to this method that I find liberating. On a more technical level the advantages are that I can use thicker threads (in the bobbin), mix more colours and create textures this way.
My experience of teaching in schools, colleges and to embroidery guilds spans some 20 years. During this time I have built a large portfolio of samples to demonstrate embroidery and appliqué techniques and this outpouring, I hope, will contribute to the making of a book in the not too distant future.